JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars cut high-priced cornerback Shaquill Griffin on Wednesday, a move that was months in the making and will save the team $13.1 million against the salary cap.
Griffin tweaked his back early last season and was essentially benched before going on injured reserve. He was scheduled to count $17.1 million against the cap next season, a number too big for a team doing everything it can to create enough space to sign a few key guys in free agency and afford its draft class.
The 27-year-old Griffin should have plenty of options to land elsewhere. He has started 72 games over six seasons with Seattle and Jacksonville. He had six interceptions for the Seahawks before signing a three-year, $40 million contract with the Jaguars in free agency in 2021.
He would have been guaranteed $5.5 million in salary and bonuses had he been on Jacksonville's roster for the third day of the new league year. The Jaguars seemingly lost confidence in him after he struggled early last season and moved forward with a starting tandem of Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams.
Jacksonville also entered the well over the NFL's salary cap for 2023. But general manager Trent Baalke restructured the contracts of receiver Christian Kirk, receiver Zay Jones, linebacker Foye Oluokun and guard Brandon Scherff. He converted more than $45 million in base salary for 2023 into signing bonuses — players welcome the hefty, one-time checks instead of waiting for their money — and spread it across voidable years, creating roughly $30 million in cap room.
Pushing that money into the future — when the cap is set to jump considerably — makes sense for the defending AFC South champions who believe they are finally ready to compete on a consistent basis for the first time in decades.
It also opens up the possibility of signing tight end Evan Engram to a long-term contract. Jacksonville used its franchise tag on Engram earlier this week.
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